Shetland (Scottish Parliament constituency)
Shetland is a constituency of the Scottish Parliament. It elects one Member of the Scottish Parliament by the first past the post method of election. However, it is one of eight constituencies in the Highlands and Islands electoral region, which elects seven additional members, in addition to eight constituency MSPs, to produce a form of proportional representation for the region as a whole. Shetland is part of the Highlands and Islands electoral region; the region covers most of Argyll and Bute council area, all of the Highland council area, most of the Moray council area, all of the Orkney Islands council area, all of the Shetland Islands council area and all of Na h-Eileanan Siar. The Shetland constituency was created at the same time as the Scottish Parliament, in 1999, to cover the Shetland Isles council area. In the House of Commons of the British Parliament at, the council area is covered by the Orkney and Shetland constituency, which covers the Orkney Islands council area, it has been represented by Tavish Scott, former Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, since the 1999 election
House of Commons of the United Kingdom
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the upper house, the House of Lords, it meets in the Palace of Westminster; the full name of the house is the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. Owing to shortage of space, its office accommodation extends into Portcullis House; the Commons is an elected body consisting of 650 members known as Members of Parliament. Members are elected to represent constituencies by the first-past-the-post system and hold their seats until Parliament is dissolved; the House of Commons of England started to evolve in 14th centuries. It became the House of Commons of Great Britain after the political union with Scotland in 1707, assumed the title of "House of Commons of Great Britain and Ireland" after the political union with Ireland at the start of the 19th century; the "United Kingdom" referred to was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1800, became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland after the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922.
Accordingly, the House of Commons assumed its current title. Under the Parliament Act 1911, the Lords' power to reject legislation was reduced to a delaying power; the Government is responsible to the House of Commons and the Prime Minister stays in office only as long as she or he retains the confidence of a majority of the Commons. Although it does not formally elect the prime minister, the position of the parties in the House of Commons is of overriding importance. By convention, the prime minister is answerable to, must maintain the support of, the House of Commons. Thus, whenever the office of prime minister falls vacant, the Sovereign appoints the person who has the support of the House, or, most to command the support of the House—normally the leader of the largest party in the Commons, while the leader of the second-largest party becomes the Leader of the Opposition. Since 1963, by convention, the prime minister is always a member of the House of Commons, rather than the House of Lords.
The Commons may indicate its lack of support for the Government by rejecting a motion of confidence or by passing a motion of no confidence. Confidence and no confidence motions are phrased explicitly, for instance: "That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government." Many other motions were until recent decades considered confidence issues though not explicitly phrased as such: in particular, important bills that were part of the Government's agenda. The annual Budget is still considered a matter of confidence; when a Government has lost the confidence of the House of Commons, the prime minister is obliged either to resign, making way for another MP who can command confidence, or to request the monarch to dissolve Parliament, thereby precipitating a general election. Parliament sits for a maximum term of five years. Subject to that limit, the prime minister could choose the timing of the dissolution of parliament, with the permission of the Monarch. However, since the Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011, terms are now a fixed five years, an early general election is brought about by a two-thirds majority in favour of a motion for a dissolution, or by a vote of no confidence, not followed within fourteen days by a vote of confidence.
By this second mechanism, the UK's government can change its political composition without an intervening general election. Only four of the eight last Prime Ministers have attained office as the immediate result of a general election; the latter four were Jim Callaghan, John Major, Gordon Brown and the current Prime Minister Theresa May. In such circumstances there may not have been an internal party leadership election, as the new leader may be chosen by acclaim, having no electoral rival. A prime minister will resign after party defeat at an election if unable to lead a coalition, or obtain a confidence and supply arrangement, she or he may resign after a motion of no confidence or for health reasons. In such cases, the premiership goes to, it has become the practice to write the constitution of major UK political parties to provide a set way in which to appoint a new leader. Until 1965, the Conservative Party had no fixed mechanism for this, it fell to the Queen to appoint Harold Macmillan as the new prime minister, after taking the consensus of cabinet ministers.
By convention, ministers are members of the House of House of Lords. A handful have been appointed who were outside Parliament, but in most cases they entered Parliament in a by-election or by receiving a peerage. Exceptions include Peter Mandelson, appointed Secretary of State for Business and Regulatory Reform in October 2008 before his peerage. Since 1902, all prime ministers have been members of the Commons; the new session of Parliament was delayed to await the outcome of his by-election, which happened
The Outer Hebrides known as the Western Isles, Innse Gall or the Long Isle or the Long Island, is an island chain off the west coast of mainland Scotland. The islands are geographically coextensive with Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, one of the 32 unitary council areas of Scotland, they form part of the archipelago of the Hebrides, separated from the Scottish mainland and from the Inner Hebrides by the waters of the Minch, the Little Minch, the Sea of the Hebrides. Scottish Gaelic is the predominant spoken language, although in a few areas English speakers form a majority. Most of the islands have a bedrock formed from ancient metamorphic rocks and the climate is mild and oceanic; the 15 inhabited islands have a total population of 27,000 and there are more than 50 substantial uninhabited islands. From Barra Head to the Butt of Lewis is 210 kilometres. There are various important prehistoric structures, many of which pre-date the first written references to the islands by Roman and Greek authors.
The Western Isles became part of the Norse kingdom of the Suðreyjar, which lasted for over 400 years until sovereignty was transferred to Scotland by the Treaty of Perth in 1266. Control of the islands was held by clan chiefs, principal of whom were the MacLeods, MacDonalds and MacNeils; the Highland Clearances of the 19th century had a devastating effect on many communities and it is only in recent years that population levels have ceased to decline. Much of the land is now under local control and commercial activity is based on tourism, crofting and weaving. Sea transport is crucial and a variety of ferry services operate between the islands and to mainland Scotland. Modern navigation systems now minimise the dangers but in the past the stormy seas have claimed many ships. Religion and sport are important aspects of local culture, there are numerous designated conservation areas to protect the natural environment; the islands form an archipelago whose major islands are Lewis and Harris, North Uist, South Uist, Barra.
Lewis and Harris has an area of 217,898 hectares and is the largest island in Scotland and the third largest in the British Isles, after Great Britain and Ireland. It incorporates Lewis in the north and Harris in the south, both of which are referred to as individual islands, although they are connected by land; the island does not have a single name in either English or Gaelic, is referred to as "Lewis and Harris", "Lewis with Harris", "Harris with Lewis" etc. The largest islands are indented by arms of the sea such as Loch Ròg, Loch Seaforth and Loch nam Madadh. There are more than 7,500 freshwater lochs in the Outer Hebrides, about 24% of the total for the whole of Scotland. North and South Uist and Lewis in particular have landscapes with a high percentage of fresh water and a maze and complexity of loch shapes. Harris has innumerable small lochans. Loch Langavat on Lewis is 11 kilometres long, has several large islands in its midst, including Eilean Mòr. Although Loch Suaineabhal has only 25% of Loch Langavat's surface area, it has a mean depth of 33 metres and is the most voluminous on the island.
Of Loch Sgadabhagh on North Uist it has been said that "there is no other loch in Britain which approaches Loch Scadavay in irregularity and complexity of outline." Loch Bì is South Uist's largest loch and at 8 kilometres long it all but cuts the island in two. Much of the western coastline of the islands is a fertile low-lying dune pastureland. Lewis is comparatively flat, consists of treeless moors of blanket peat; the highest eminence is Mealisval at 574 m in the south west. Most of Harris is mountainous, with large areas of exposed rock and Clisham, the archipelago's only Corbett, reaches 799 m in height. North and South Uist and Benbecula have sandy beaches and wide cultivated areas of machair to the west and uninhabited mountainous areas to the east; the highest peak here is Beinn Mhòr at 620 metres. The Uists and their immediate outliers have a combined area of 74,540 hectares; this includes the Uists themselves and the islands linked to them by causeways and bridges. Barra is 5,875 hectares in extent and has a rugged interior, surrounded by machair and extensive beaches.
The scenic qualities of the islands are reflected in the fact that three of Scotland's forty national scenic areas are located here. The national scenic areas are defined so as to identify areas of exceptional scenery and to ensure its protection from inappropriate development, are considered to represent the type of scenic beauty "popularly associated with Scotland and for which it is renowned"; the three NSA within the Outer Hebridies are: South Lewis and North Uist National Scenic Area covers the mountainous south west of Lewis, all of Harris, the Sound of Harris and the northern part of North Uist. An area of the south west coast of South Uist is designated as the South Uist Machair National Scenic Area; the archipelago of St Kilda is listed as an NSA, alongside many other conservation designations. Much of the archipelago is a protected habitat, including both the islands and the surrounding waters. There are 53 Sites of Special Scientific Interest of which the largest are Loch an Duin, North Uist and North Harris.
South Uist is considered the best place in the UK for the aquatic plant Slender Naiad, a European Protected S
2011 Scottish Parliament election
The 2011 Scottish Parliament election was held on Thursday, 5 May 2011 to elect 129 members to the Scottish Parliament. The election delivered the first majority government since the opening of Holyrood, a remarkable feat as the Additional Member System used to elect MSPs was implemented to prevent any party achieving an overall parliamentary majority; the Scottish National Party won 69 seats, the most the party has held at either a Holyrood or Westminster election, allowing leader Alex Salmond to remain First Minister of Scotland. The SNP gained 32 constituencies, twenty two from the Scottish Labour Party, nine from the Scottish Liberal Democrats and one from the Scottish Conservatives; such was the scale of their gains that, of the 73 constituencies in Scotland, only 20 came to be represented by MSPs of other political parties. The Scottish Labour Party lost seven seats and suffered their worst election defeat in Scotland since 1931, with huge losses in their traditional Central Belt constituencies and for the first time having to rely on the regional lists to elect members within these areas.
They did, remain the largest opposition party. Party leader Iain Gray announced his resignation following his party's disappointing result; the Scottish Liberal Democrats were soundly defeated. Tavish Scott announced his resignation as party leader shortly after the election. For Scottish Conservatives, the election proved disappointing as their popular vote dropped and their number of seats fell by 2, with party leader Annabel Goldie announcing her resignation. During the campaign, the four main party leaders engaged in a series of televised debates, as they had in every previous general election; these key debates were held on 29 March, 1 May, 3 May. The results of the election were broadcast live on BBC Scotland and STV, on the night of the election, it was the fourth general election since the devolved parliament was established in 1999 and was held on the same day as elections to the National Assembly for Wales and the Northern Ireland Assembly, as well as English local elections and the UK-wide referendum on the alternative vote.
Under the Scotland Act 1998, an ordinary general election to the Scottish Parliament was held on the first Thursday in May four years after the 2007 election. Because of the problems of voter confusion and a high number of spoilt ballots in 2007 due to holding Scottish parliamentary and local elections and under different voting systems, the next Scottish local elections were held in 2012 instead of 2011; this policy decision was contradicted, however, by the staging of the Alternative Vote referendum on 5 May 2011 as well. Labour MP Ian Davidson expressed opposition to the referendum being staged on the same date as other elections. Scottish Secretary Michael Moore stated that having the referendum on another date would cost an additional £17 million. British, Irish and European Union citizens living in Scotland who were aged 18 or over on election day were entitled to vote; the deadline to register to vote in the election was midnight on Friday 15 April 2011, though anyone who qualified as an anonymous elector had until midnight on Tuesday 26 April 2011 to register.
It was held on the same day as elections for Northern Ireland's 26 local councils, the Northern Irish Assembly and Welsh Assembly elections, a number of local elections in England and the United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum. The table below shows the notional figures for seats won by each party at the last election; the Conservatives have been the biggest gainers as a result of the boundary changes, winning an extra 3 seats and Labour has lost the most seats, losing 2 overall. The total number of Members of the Scottish Parliament elected to the Parliament is 129; the First Periodical Review of the Scottish Parliament's constituencies and regions by the Boundary Commission for Scotland was announced on 3 July 2007. The Commission published its provisional proposals for the regional boundaries in 2009; the Scottish Parliament uses an Additional Members System, designed to produce approximate proportional representation for each region. There are 8 regions each sub-divided into smaller constituencies.
There are a total of 73 constituencies. Each constituency elects one by the plurality system of election; each region elects seven additional member MSPs using an additional member system. A modified D'Hondt method, using the constituency results, is used to calculate which additional member MSPs the regions elect; the Scottish Parliament constituencies have not been coterminous with Scottish Westminster constituencies since the 2005 general election, when the 72 former Westminster constituencies were replaced with a new set of 59 larger, constituencies. For details of the Revised proposals for constituencies at the Next Scottish Parliament election - Scottish Parliament constituencies and regions from 2011 The Boundary Commission have recommended changes to the electoral regions used to elect "list" members of the Scottish Parliament; the recommendations can be summarised below. Glasgow Govan was replaced by Glasgow Southside; the seats of Glasgow Maryhill, Glasgow Springburn and Glasgow Baillieston were abolished and their territory was divided between the newly created Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn and Glasgow Provan, as well as the existing Glasgow Shettleston seat, moved eastwards.
Highlands and Islands retained 8 constituency seats. Caithness and Easter Ross was replaced with the larger Caithness and Ross seat. Ross, Skye an
Scotland is a country, part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, by the North Sea to the northeast and by the Irish Sea to the south. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides; the Kingdom of Scotland emerged as an independent sovereign state in the Early Middle Ages and continued to exist until 1707. By inheritance in 1603, James VI, King of Scots, became King of England and King of Ireland, thus forming a personal union of the three kingdoms. Scotland subsequently entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain; the union created a new Parliament of Great Britain, which succeeded both the Parliament of Scotland and the Parliament of England. In 1801, the Kingdom of Great Britain and Kingdom of Ireland enacted a political union to create a United Kingdom.
The majority of Ireland subsequently seceded from the UK in 1922. Within Scotland, the monarchy of the United Kingdom has continued to use a variety of styles and other royal symbols of statehood specific to the pre-union Kingdom of Scotland; the legal system within Scotland has remained separate from those of England and Wales and Northern Ireland. The continued existence of legal, educational and other institutions distinct from those in the remainder of the UK have all contributed to the continuation of Scottish culture and national identity since the 1707 union with England; the Scottish Parliament, a unicameral legislature comprising 129 members, was established in 1999 and has authority over those areas of domestic policy which have been devolved by the United Kingdom Parliament. The head of the Scottish Government, the executive of the devolved legislature, is the First Minister of Scotland. Scotland is represented in the UK House of Commons by 59 MPs and in the European Parliament by 6 MEPs.
Scotland is a member of the British–Irish Council, sends five members of the Scottish Parliament to the British–Irish Parliamentary Assembly. Scotland is divided into councils. Glasgow City is the largest subdivision in Scotland in terms of population, with Highland being the largest in terms of area. "Scotland" comes from the Latin name for the Gaels. From the ninth century, the meaning of Scotia shifted to designate Gaelic Scotland and by the eleventh century the name was being used to refer to the core territory of the Kingdom of Alba in what is now east-central Scotland; the use of the words Scots and Scotland to encompass most of what is now Scotland became common in the Late Middle Ages, as the Kingdom of Alba expanded and came to encompass various peoples of diverse origins. Repeated glaciations, which covered the entire land mass of modern Scotland, destroyed any traces of human habitation that may have existed before the Mesolithic period, it is believed the first post-glacial groups of hunter-gatherers arrived in Scotland around 12,800 years ago, as the ice sheet retreated after the last glaciation.
At the time, Scotland was covered in forests, had more bog-land, the main form of transport was by water. These settlers began building the first known permanent houses on Scottish soil around 9,500 years ago, the first villages around 6,000 years ago; the well-preserved village of Skara Brae on the mainland of Orkney dates from this period. Neolithic habitation and ritual sites are common and well preserved in the Northern Isles and Western Isles, where a lack of trees led to most structures being built of local stone. Evidence of sophisticated pre-Christian belief systems is demonstrated by sites such as the Callanish Stones on Lewis and the Maes Howe on Orkney, which were built in the third millennium BCE; the first written reference to Scotland was in 320 BC by Greek sailor Pytheas, who called the northern tip of Britain "Orcas", the source of the name of the Orkney islands. During the first millennium BCE, the society changed to a chiefdom model, as consolidation of settlement led to the concentration of wealth and underground stores of surplus food.
The first Roman incursion into Scotland occurred in 79 AD. After the Roman victory, Roman forts were set along the Gask Ridge close to the Highland line, but by three years after the battle, the Roman armies had withdrawn to the Southern Uplands; the Romans erected Hadrian's Wall in northern England and the Limes Britannicus became the northern border of the Roman Empire. The Roman influence on the southern part of the country was considerable, they introduced Christianity to Scotland. Beginning in the sixth century, the area, now Scotland was divided into three areas: Pictland, a patchwork of small lordships in central Scotland; these societies were based on the family unit and had sharp divisions in wealth, although the vast majority were poor and worked full-time in subsistence agriculture. The Picts kept slaves through the ninth century. Gaelic influence over Pictland and Northumbria was facilitated by the large number of Gaelic-speaking clerics working as missionaries. Operating in the sixth ce
Shetland called the Shetland Islands and Zetland, is a subarctic archipelago of Scotland that lies northeast of the mainland of Scotland. The islands lie some 80 km to the northeast of Orkney, 168 km from the Scottish mainland and 280 km southeast of the Faroe Islands, they form part of the division between the Atlantic Ocean to the North Sea to the east. The total area is 1,466 km2, the population totalled 23,210 in 2011. Comprising the Shetland constituency of the Scottish Parliament, Shetland Islands Council is one of the 32 council areas of Scotland; the largest island, known as the "Mainland", has an area of 967 km2, making it the third-largest Scottish island and the fifth-largest of the British Isles. There are an additional 15 inhabited islands; the archipelago has an oceanic climate, a complex geology, a rugged coastline and many low, rolling hills. Humans have lived in Shetland since the Mesolithic period; the earliest written references to the islands date to Roman times. The early historic period was dominated by Scandinavian influences from Norway, the islands did not become part of Scotland until the 15th century.
When Scotland became part of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707, trade with northern Europe decreased. Fishing has continued to be an important aspect of the economy up to the present day; the discovery of North Sea oil in the 1970s boosted Shetland's economy and public sector revenues. The local way of life reflects the Scottish and Norse heritage of the isles, including the Up Helly Aa fire festival, a strong musical tradition the traditional fiddle style; the islands have produced a variety of writers of prose and poetry in the distinct Shetland dialect of Scots. There are numerous areas set aside to protect the local fauna and flora, including a number of important sea bird nesting sites; the Shetland pony and Shetland Sheepdog are two well-known Shetland animal breeds. Other local breeds include the Shetland sheep, cow and duck; the Shetland pig, or grice, has been extinct since about 1930. The islands' motto, which appears on the Council's coat of arms, is "Með lögum skal land byggja"; the Old Norse original of this Icelandic phrase is taken from the Danish 1241 Basic Law, Code of Jutland, is mentioned in Njáls saga, means "By law shall land be built".
The name of Shetland is derived from the Old Norse words and land. In AD 43 and 77 the Roman authors Pomponius Mela and Pliny the Elder referred to the seven islands they called Haemodae and Acmodae, both of which are assumed to be Shetland. Another possible early written reference to the islands is Tacitus' report in Agricola in AD 98, after describing the discovery and conquest of Orkney, that the Roman fleet had seen "Thule, too". In early Irish literature, Shetland is referred to as Insi Catt—"the Isles of Cats", which may have been the pre-Norse inhabitants' name for the islands; the Cat tribe occupied parts of the northern Scottish mainland and their name can be found in Caithness, in the Gaelic name for Sutherland. The oldest version of the modern name Shetland is Hetlandensis, the Latinised adjectival form of the Old Norse name recorded in a letter from Harald, Count of Shetland in 1190, becoming Hetland in 1431 after various intermediate transformations, it is possible. It became Hjaltland in the 16th century.
As Norn was replaced by Scots in the form of the Shetland dialect, Hjaltland became Ȝetland. The initial letter is the Middle Scots letter, the pronunciation of, identical to the original Norn sound, /hj/; when the use of the letter yogh was discontinued, it was replaced by the similar-looking letter z, hence Zetland, the form used in the name of the pre-1975 county council. This is the source of the ZE postcode used for Shetland. Most of the individual islands have Norse names, although the derivations of some are obscure and may represent pre-Norse Pictish or pre-Celtic names or elements. Shetland is around 170 kilometres north of mainland Scotland, covers an area of 1,468 square kilometres and has a coastline 2,702 kilometres long. Lerwick, the capital and largest settlement, has a population of 6,958 and about half of the archipelago's total population of 23,167 people live within 16 kilometres of the town. Scalloway on the west coast, the capital until 1708, has a population of less than 1,000.
Only 16 of about 100 islands are inhabited. The main island of the group is known as Mainland; the next largest are Yell and Fetlar, which lie to the north, Bressay and Whalsay, which lie to the east. East and West Burra, Muckle Roe, Papa Stour and Vaila are smaller islands to the west of Mainland; the other inhabited islands are Foula 28 kilometres west of Walls, Fair Isle 38 kilometres south-west of Sumburgh Head, the Out Skerries to the east. The uninhabited islands include Mousa, known for the Broch of Mousa, the finest preserved example in Scotland of an Iron Age broch. Shetland's location means that it provides a number of such records: Muness is the most northerly castle in the United Kingdom and Skaw the most northerly settlement. The
Scottish Parliament Building
The Scottish Parliament Building is the home of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood, within the UNESCO World Heritage Site in central Edinburgh. Construction of the building commenced in June 1999 and the Members of the Scottish Parliament held their first debate in the new building on 7 September 2004; the formal opening by Queen Elizabeth II took place on 9 October 2004. Enric Miralles, the Spanish architect who designed the building, died before its completion. From 1999 until the opening of the new building in 2004, committee rooms and the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament were housed in the General Assembly Hall of the Church of Scotland located on The Mound in Edinburgh. Office and administrative accommodation in support of the Parliament were provided in buildings leased from the City of Edinburgh Council; the new Scottish Parliament Building brought together these different elements into one purpose-built parliamentary complex, housing 129 MSPs and more than 1,000 staff and civil servants.
From the outset, the building and its construction have been controversial. The choices of location, architect and construction company were all criticised by politicians, the media and the Scottish public. Scheduled to open in 2001, it did so in 2004, more than three years late with an estimated final cost of £414 million, many times higher than initial estimates of between £10m and £40m. A major public inquiry into the handling of the construction, chaired by the former Lord Advocate, Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, was established in 2003; the inquiry concluded in September 2004 and criticised the management of the whole project from the realisation of cost increases down to the way in which major design changes were implemented. Despite these criticisms and a mixed public reaction, the building was welcomed by architectural academics and critics; the building aimed to achieve a poetic union between the Scottish landscape, its people, its culture, the city of Edinburgh. The Parliament Building won numerous awards including the 2005 Stirling Prize and has been described by landscape architect Charles Jencks as "a tour de force of arts and crafts and quality without parallel in the last 100 years of British architecture".
Comprising an area of 1.6 ha, with a perimeter of 480 m, the Scottish Parliament Building is located 1 km east of Edinburgh city centre on the edge of the Old Town. The large site housed the headquarters of the Scottish and Newcastle brewery which were demolished to make way for the building; the boundary of the site is marked by the Canongate stretch of the Royal Mile on its northern side, Horse Wynd on its eastern side, where the public entrance to the building is, Reid's Close on its western side. Reid's Close connects the Holyrood Road on the southwestern side of the complex; the south eastern side of the complex is bounded by the Our Dynamic Earth visitor attraction which opened in July 1999, Queen's Drive which fringes the slopes of Salisbury Crags. In the immediate vicinity of the building is the Palace of Holyroodhouse, bordered by the broad expanse of Holyrood Park. To the south of the parliamentary complex are the steep slopes of Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat; the Holyrood and Dumbiedykes areas, to the west of the site, have been extensively redeveloped since 1998, with new retail and office developments, including Barclay House, the new offices of The Scotsman Publications Ltd.
Before 1707, the Kingdom of Scotland was a sovereign independent state which had its own legislature—the Parliament of Scotland—which met, latterly, at Parliament House on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. The Treaty of Union, signed in 1707, created an incorporating political union between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England; this created the Kingdom of Great Britain. The two previous Acts of Union had dissolved the previous parliaments; the Treaty of Union created the Parliament of Great Britain, housed in the Palace of Westminster in London. As a consequence, Scotland was directly governed from London for the next 292 years without a legislature or a Parliament building of its own. Pressure for a devolved legislature of some sort grew in the 1970s with the growth of the Scottish National Party, monies were invested into the conversion of the former Royal High School on Calton Hill into an official parliament building. Whilst much of this conversion was completed and the building was renamed New Parliament House it was determined that the facility was too small for its stated purpose.
Following the April 1992 election, when a weakened John Major was re-elected, a campaign group set up adjacent to the Royal High School at the foot of the access road to Calton Hill. Starting informally this became a permanently manned "vigil" to keep the concept in the public mind; this led to the Royal High School being the "popular" choice of site in the public mindset. A referendum of the Scottish electorate, held on 11 September 1997, approved the establishment of a directly elected Scottish Parliament to legislate on most domestic affairs. Following this, the Scottish Office, led by the Secretary of State for Scotland, Donald Dewar, decided that a new purpose-built facility would be constructed in Edinburgh, to house the Scottish Parliament. Three sites in and around Edinburgh were considered as possible locations for the building, including St Andrew's House/New Parliament House St Andrews House being the home of the Scottish Office—later th